A Devastating Portrait

The release of parts of the Starr report to the public Friday has stunned many political observers, who have read a very different character depiction of President Clinton than the one he has shown while in office. A commentary by CBS 'Face The Nation' Anchor Bob Schieffer.

President Clinton has always portrayed himself as a champion of women's rights and to me that is the sad irony of what we're seeing played out with the release of the Starr report.

Tawdry as it is, my guess is it's going to take more than Starr's come up with so far to convince Congress to impeach the president, but we'll see.

In the meantime, what independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr has done is paint a devastating portrait of a president who has selfishly used others, especially women, to satisfy his needs of the moment and not just Monica Lewinsky -- who was led on, used and discarded.

He took advantage of his own Cabinet officers, Donna Shalala and Madeleine Albright, asking them to defend him, knowing he sent them out to lie.

While reading the report, it struck me that he took advantage of no one in a more cavalier fashion than his secretary, Betty Currie, who found it part of her job to schedule Miss Lewinsky's visits and escort her into the White House.

Currie would sometimes drive in from her Maryland home on the weekends for the sole purpose of shepherding Lewinsky into and out of the president's office.

We can only wonder what she must have been thinking as she sat there on her day off waiting for them to conclude their trysts. Even on the weekend, after Miss Currie's brother died, the president summoned her to the White House so she could let Miss Lewinsky in.

On that weekend, Miss Lewinsky had the grace to say, 'Let's not.'
Forget impeachment and high crimes and misdemeanors for the moment. What's the penalty for low-down, totally thoughtless insensitive?

Written by Bob Schieffer